Top 4 Web Hosting Providers for Your Nonprofit's WordPress Website
August 16, 2019
When it comes to technology, you get what you pay for.
If your organization is using generic or low-cost website hosting for WordPress, it’s likely you’re running into common problems:
- Your website’s pages and posts load slow
- The host’s control panel is dated, buggy, and hard to use
- Your plan has limited features and security like backups or a firewall
- WordPress resources and documentation are weak
- Support can’t answer your unique WordPress questions
If you’re tired of wasting your time and frustrated, you’re ready for a switch.
It’s important to shift your mindset away from thinking that “cheap is better” and prioritize upgrading to a high-quality web host.
Include it in your nonprofit’s annual budget because using cheap hosting is a security mistake you want to avoid making.
The benefits outweigh the cost. You’ll get faster speeds, stronger security, and extra managed services that are built-in to save you time.
In this article, you’re going to learn about four web hosting providers that your nonprofit should consider using if your website uses WordPress.
You’ll be able to make an informed decision with peace of mind.
1. WP Engine
One of the largest and most reputable web hosting providers is WP Engine. Since 2010, their focus has been only hosting WordPress websites. They’re known for having an overall solid service with extra attention to security and automations.
Their Starter Plan begins at about $31/mo (with a discount) and is ideal for small to medium-sized organizations wanting strong security, support, and fast page loads.
It includes 25K monthly visits, 10GB of disc space, and 50GB of bandwidth.
For larger organizations, consider investing in the Growth Plan which is about $103/mo (discount included) and it'll better fit your high-traffic needs with 24/7 phone support.
Key benefits of using WP Engine:
- Daily Backups - full copies of your site’s important files are automatically made every day off-site saving you a lot of time. If needed, backups are easy to manage and restore from the dashboard.
- Managed Core Updates - WordPress publishes weekly maintenance releases and plugin creators tend to be bi-weekly to monthly. WP Engine’s automated service keeps the core software up to date so you don’t need to worry about it.
- Multiple Staging Sites - you can make a copy of your WordPress website to test new plugins before adding them to a live site. Three "staging" environments are included, along with one-click staging for need basic plugin testing.
- Expert WordPress Support - trained WordPress professionals can help with problems or questions about your website 24/7. You get live chat and ticketing on the Starter Plan and phone support on the Growth Plan. Also, a great collection of resources.
- Speed Enhancement - WP Engine uses a content delivery network (CDN) that boosts your website’s overall page speed and load time. There’s also a performance tool integrated into the user dashboard.
Tip: use the code wpe3free on checkout and take 10% off all plans. Pay annually and you’ll get 3 months free.
Bonus Tip: use coupon code WEBWEEK2019 to get 5 months free on any annual shared plan. It's from valid December 20, 2019 - January 3, 2020.
Next up is Flywheel (now part of WP Engine) which has been around since 2012. Their non-techie and friendly approach to WordPress web hosting might be refreshing to creatives or marketers at nonprofits.
Migrations can be very complicated and time-consuming if you try DIY and get it wrong. Your site can go down for days. Flywheel will handle migrating your site for free and they’ve got the process down.
Their Starter Plan at $23/mo is good for organizations with that don’t initially need a ton of server space (compared to WP Engine) but want a service that’s fast, easy to use, and secure with amazing customer service.
It includes 25K monthly visits, 5GB of disc space, and 50GB of bandwidth.
Key benefits of using Flywheel:
- Managed Caching and Performance - they have very fast servers that handle caching like a pro and Flywheel also works with you to further optimize your site so it jams even faster.
- Staging Site - just like WP Engine, you’ll have a place for test plugins before adding them to your live site but limited to one environment.
- Managed Security - your site gets scanned to block malware and hacking attempts in the background. In case your site is ever hacked, their team will fix it for you for free of charge. Daily backups as well.
- Local Development - Flywheel stands out with free software they’ve made that lets developers easily create a local WordPress site so you don’t have to bother with setting it up yourself.
- Expert Support - WordPress tech wizards go above and beyond to provide personalized support to you through live chat and email ticketing. From serious problems to simple plugin recommendations, you’ll be covered.
- Resources Deluxe - their blog, ebooks, help docs, and design trends are seriously useful and well designed resources that any nonprofit marketing team should check out.
Tip: use the code nonprofit2019 on checkout and take 20% off all plans, monthly or yearly.
Another premium provider that’s been gaining a lot of attention is Kinsta. Like WP Engine and Flywheel, they only host WordPress websites and have mastered it in just 10 years.
If your organization needs blazing fast speeds with impressive security features and a free migration, consider their Starter plan which is about $25/mo (with a nonprofit discount).
It includes 20K monthly visits, 5GB of disc space, and 50GB of bandwidth.
Compared to WP Engine and Flywheel, Kinsta has more flexible plans: $51/mo, $85/mo, $170/mo, $255/mo (discount applied) and up.
Small to very large organizations may find this helpful for annual budgeting.
Key benefits of using Kinsta:
- Crazy Fast - one of the ways Kinsta separates themselves from WP Engine and Flywheel is how they use the Google Cloud Platform for their hosting service and don’t offer shared hosting.
- Traffic Surge Free - each of the WordPress sites they host is housed in its own contained box. The resources are 100% private and are not shared between anyone else so your nonprofit’s site stays online during heavy traffic surges.
- Powerful User Dashboard - their dashboard makes background site management a breeze compared to most hosting providers. You can easily clear the cache, install certificates, view bandwidth, stats, manage backups, and more.
- Security and Free Hack Fix - their service includes a firewall for extra security but if your site gets compromised for some reason, their team will fix it for free just like Flywheel does.
Tip: Get 15% off discount off all plans after verifying your nonprofit’s 501c3 status.
The final web hosting provider that’s worth being on your nonprofit's radar is Pantheon. Like WP Engine, they’re very reputable in the industry and known for delivering enterprise-quality, reliable hosting for WordPress and Drupal.
Compared to all three providers, Pantheon is the most premium and expensive. They’re ideal for medium to large organizations wanting the absolute best in speed, security, and support.
If your organization’s WordPress website has a lot of traffic with thousands of pages, a large membership, and are collecting large donations - you’ll want to invest in looking at Pantheon’s service.
Their Basic plan starts $41/mo and $29/mo paid annually.
It includes 25K monthly visits, 20GB of disc space, and 125K of pages served.
Key benefits of using Pantheon:
- Wicked Fast Page Loads - they have their own global content delivery network (CDN) that temporarily saves and loads full copies on your pages (instead of just images). You will see a major performance boost in page load time on your organization’s site.
- Auto Backups and Updates - your site’s database, files, and data are automatically saved every night and super easy to restore your site if something goes wrong.
- Three Staging Sites - like WP Engine, they also have built-in test sites that make WordPress core and plugin updates easy to test before going live. It’s always handy if your team or web vendor needs to add custom features to your site.
- Secure and Contained - Patheon has built-in hardened security with encrypted channels and least-privilege user access. Similar to Kinsta, your website lives in a separate box. They boast 99.99% uptime so your site should never be offline and handy for your next online fundraising event.
- 24/7 Live Support - like all the other providers mentioned, their support team is also made up of expert WordPress developers and performance pros who can help you by live chat, email, or phone.
Hopefully, you’ve learned how these premium hosting companies generally offer the same packages and why it’s worth paying a little more.
- WP Engine - solid across the board with an emphasis on strong security and support
- Flywheel - good for non-techy marketers and ideal for pain-free WordPress migrations
- Kinsta - for organizations that want blazing fast speeds and security, along with flexible pricing
- Pantheon - for organizations with high-traffic websites that want the best speed and security
Moving away from a cheap hosting provider is one of the six ways you can keep your website from being hacked.
Final Email Tip:
One thing to note is that these companies only provide WordPress web hosting so email isn’t included in their plans.
Consider using Google for Nonprofits because it’s free. Keep in mind that only includes access to G Suite Basic.
For G Suite Business, use the code L9NHRUTK7QUXHPG on checkout and get 20% off your first year.
By Chuck Spidell, the Nonprofit WordPress Security Expert who helps women-led communications teams free up their time and lock down WordPress from getting hacked.